Can I file for bankruptcy without my husband's consent? 24 Answers as of April 23, 2013

I am divorced and in the divorce decree, I assumed responsibility for the outstanding debt that we have and agreed to make payments. My ex had been out of work for over a year and had no income, but he refused to file bankruptcy. I am in a position where I can no longer pay the bills and would like to file bankruptcy, but my ex is still refusing to. Can I file without his consent and if so, what would the consequences be to him? Some of the debts I am paying are in both names. I feel like I am out of options if he won't agree to file and the law prohibits me from filing.

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Richard L. Hirsh, P.C. | Richard L. Hirsh
You have a right to file bankruptcy. You and he are divorced so he has no right whatsoever to stop you. Even if you were married that would be the case. If there are joint debts you are required to pay under the divorce decree, and if those creditors pursue him after your bankruptcy, your ex-husband would have a right to pursue you notwithstanding the bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 4/23/2013
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
You can file your separate petition without your spouse's permission. However, certain exemptions are only allowed if you get a written spousal waiver allowing you to take the exemptions in California pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure 703. You should consult with an attorney as to whether to obtain a spousal waiver to be able to do this.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/23/2013
Law Office of Susan G. Taylor
Law Office of Susan G. Taylor | Susan G. Taylor
You can file chapter 7 bankruptcy and discharge your responsibility to the companies. His recourse is to sue you (how likely is that?) to enforce the divorce decree.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 4/22/2013
Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
Yes you can. Since the debts were assigned pursuant to a court order in the divorce, there may be some issues to go over which is why you should definitely do this through an experienced bankruptcy attorney such as myself, but you are certainly allowed to file, and you do not need his consent.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/22/2013
The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu
The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu | Mengjun Qiu
Yes you can file for bankruptcy without his consent. He may object, but I highly doubt that he would be able to dismiss your bankruptcy case, especially if you're divorced already.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 4/22/2013
    Philip R. Boardman, Attorney at Law
    Philip R. Boardman, Attorney at Law | Phil Boardman
    Absolutely.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    Yes, you can file bankruptcy without your ex husband's consent. You'll have to file a chapter 13 and pay your calculated disposable income into the plan in order to discharge the debt you agreed to pay in your decree.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    The Law Office of M Grater LLC
    The Law Office of M Grater LLC | Mark O. Grater
    Yes, you may file for bankruptcy without your husband's consent.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    Troutman & Napier
    Troutman & Napier | Gregory A. Napier
    You can file bankruptcy without your husband's consent. However, on the debts where you agreed in the divorce decree to be responsible for AND which he was also liable to the creditor for, you obligation to your ex-husband does not get discharged in a Chapter 7. You will likely want to look at a Chapter 13 for this reason.
    Answer Applies to: Kentucky
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    HARRIS LAW FIRM | Jonathan Curry Harris
    You can file without his consent. The creditors will demand payment from ex-H.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Yes, you can file without his consent. But, be aware, there may be issues of constructive fraud which requires the review of an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    You do not need your ex-husband's consent to file bankruptcy. You should review the divorce decree carefully to see what rights he has, if any, if you file bankruptcy on the debts the decree said you were supposed to pay.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    There will be an interplay between your divorce decree and the bankruptcy law. You really need to see an attorney now before you take any action to determine what your best course of action is.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A. | Diane L. Drain
    Yes, but bankruptcy is a very complicated process. Especially when you are blending divorce and bankruptcy. There are serious issues that will affect you. It is wise to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney before deciding to take this important step.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    You do not need his consent to file but the debts that his name is on, he will still be liable for. So it sounds like you would be in breach of your divorce decree.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C.
    Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C. | J. Thomas Black
    Yes, you can file bankruptcy without your ex-husband's consent. Even if he were still your husband, you could file bankruptcy without his consent. However if you were ordered to pay the debts in the divorce decree and "hold him harmless" for any amounts that he has to pay, and you file chapter 7, and he later pays the debts, the amount that he pays on those debts would not be discharged as to him. The creditors would be discharged and could not collect from you. Only he could, and only to the extent that he actually pays them. If he is personally liable for the debts (if they were joint debts or solely in his name), and you file chapter 7, they can try to collect from him, through a lawsuit if necessary. You should probably have a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in your area about chapter 13. In chapter 13, such "hold harmless" debts are discharged even as to your ex-husband. Not only that, but so long as they are consumer debts, there is a co-debtor stay which prevents them from trying to collect against your ex-husband during your chapter 13, at least without first seeking permission from the bankruptcy court, which many will likely not go to the expense or trouble of doing.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    Heineman Law Office
    Heineman Law Office | Jeff Heineman
    Yes, you can file without his consent. However, a Chapter 7 discharge will not help you with regard to the joint debt. Under the Bankruptcy Code (the Code), a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge with not relieve you of an obligation set forth in a divorce decree. So, he must file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy as well. However, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge would relieve you of non-support related obligations under the decree.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    CARL C SILVER ATTORNEY AT LAW
    CARL C SILVER ATTORNEY AT LAW | Carl C Silver
    You said you were divorced. Why would you need your ex-husband's approval? You cannot file jointly anyway.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    You should consult with a bankruptcy attorney. You can file without him, but without seeing your divorce decree/separation agreement it is hard to predict what would happen regarding the debts in joint name. You can discharge your obligation to the lender but they will be able to try to collect from him. Sometimes, depending upon the language in the separation agreement, there is an obligation to the ex spouse that remains and is not discharged in a chapter 7 case. Sometimes a chapter 13 can be a reasonable alternative to clear that liability as well. Set up a consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP
    Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP | Alan E. Ramos
    You don't need your ex-husband's permission to file a bankruptcy petition. You should consult with an attorney to determine the outcome to both you and your ex.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
    He is your ex-husband, you cannot file a joint bankruptcy. You do not need his consent to file bankruptcy. However, depending on what the divorce judgment says, he may have a right to bring an action against you for any of the joint debt that you agreed to pay and then go bankrupt on. I would check with your divorce lawyer and see just what you agreed to do.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    Law Offices of Bill N. Jacob
    Law Offices of Bill N. Jacob | Bill N. Jacob
    You do not need his consent to file bankruptcy, however, he may be able to compel you to pay the debt you agreed to assume responsibility for in the divorce, depending upon whether the court finds those debts to be "in the nature of alimony or support".
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    Yes. He would owe any joint debt. You would not.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/22/2013
    David Andersen & Associates PC | Jeremy Shephard
    You can file bankruptcy without a spouse's consent or an ex-spouse. The debts you are describing may be dischargeable only in certain types bankruptcy cases. I recommend speaking with an attorney to go over your situation.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/22/2013
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